A look at a potential playoff series with the Charlotte Hornets. The Bucks lost the season series going (1-3).
The Hornet’s Line-up
G Kemba Walker
G Courtney Lee
F Nicholas Batum
F Marvin Williams
F Cody Zeller
The Hornet’s Strengths and Weaknesses
The Hornets have had a turn-around season after a disappointing 2014-2015 season led by Kemba Walker, Nicholas Batum, and a bunch of guys like Jeremy Lin. Sure, Steve Clifford played a part too. The addition of Nicholas Batum has meant the world to Kemba Walker, who now has some space to operate on occasion. It’s much easier to carry the team when you can throw the ball to someone else, run around for 15 seconds, hoping to get open. Their problem is Kemba happens to be their only player that can really get his own shot, so come playoff time, teams are going to slow the game down leaving him to create everything in the half court. He’s a very talented scorer, but that’s a tough situation to put him in. If Allen Iverson couldn’t do it, maybe Kemba can’t either. However, I don’t think the Bucks have a player we can just throw on Kemba to contain him. Jerry Bayless might be our best hope, but even then I’d expect Kemba to play well in the series especially, when you account for our lack of shot blocking.
Charlotte is very similar to Boston in the respect that they’re being led by an up and coming coach, winning with a small point guard being their primary scoring threat, and have a roster filled with journey-men veterans. Thus, we don’t necessarily match up well with them yet. Giannis would face a challenge being guarded by Nicholas Batum, who shares Giannis’ athletic physique. In our last match-up with the Hornets, Batum was able to keep Giannis from getting to the lane and limited his opportunities to get a quality shot off. Cody Zeller is such a tough match-up for Moose. Zeller was constantly beating Moose down the floor in our last match up, to the point the Hornets either had an extra defender for three for four seconds, or Cody was getting an easy slam on the other end. When Moose did manage to get up the floor, we’d enter the ball to him in the post, and Zeller would just wait until Moose was ready to put it up and block him from behind. Maybe, Monroe just didn’t care about the season anymore, but Cody Zeller outplayed him to an embarrassing degree. I suggest we bring Moose off the bench to match-up against Al Jefferson. They both lumber up and down the floor. Big Al is still more athletic than Monroe believe it or not, but at least they’ll get to the block around the same time.
Moving to the bench, Charlotte has the advantage being led by Jeremy Lin and Al Jefferson. Both players have been around for a while and kind of understand what’s going on out there. Most bench units don’t have the fortune of playing two guys fully capable of starting. The Buck’s bench unit is compiled of inexperienced players trying to find their place in the league, and John Henson.
Match-Up to Watch
Once again, the most important match-up related to us pulling off the upset is Giannis vs the guy that guards him. Batum has all the tools necessary to make it tough on Giannis. He matches Giannis’ physical abilities and brings to the table a more experience view of the game. Giannis would be in danger of committing unnecessary fouls. If Giannis can’t play at his best, we don’t have much of a chance in beating them through other routes. Khris Middleton can only score so many points. For Milwaukee, everything rides on Giannis, and the Hornets have the best player to match up against him in the league.
Looking to the Future
Although Charlotte is the better team right now, I like our pieces a lot more than theirs down the line. Charlotte is going to be hard pressed to get any better than they already are. They’re too good to likely land themselves a star in the draft, and aren’t a top free agency destination. Kemba is the only star on a roster filled with aging vets and youngsters with limited potential. Charlotte’s potential feels very similar to the Josh Smith Hawks, Conference Semi-Finals at best. The Bucks have the luxury of the young trio of Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jabari Parker. Our biggest problems going forward will be signing the right players to surround our stars. If we succeed in doing so, nothings out of the question. I’d love to be watching Milwaukee in the playoffs, but I’m still content knowing we should be one of the more dangerous teams in the near future.
To study up on how the Bucks would fare against others: